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Every member of a 28-strong group of African musicians has disappeared during a trip to a Swiss folk festival.

The performers had arrived in Switzerland from Burundi on a three-month Schengen tourist visa ahead of the event in the city of Fribourg.

But only 14 of them arrived at the festival and by their final show, just three were left with the others having disappeared. The remaining three then went missing after the event, according to local reports.

Festival chairman Jean-Pierre Gauch said: ‘We do not know where they went.’

The members of the group had reportedly told the festival organisers that they were repressed and persecuted in their home country.

He added that it is ‘important for us to show that taking part in the festival is not a ticket to Europe’, but added that ‘we do not monitor our guests’.

Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) Spokeswoman Emmanuelle Jaquet von Sury said that as long as their visa is valid the Burundians can move freely through the Schengen area.

The members of the group had reportedly told the festival organisers that they were repressed and persecuted in their home country.

She said: ‘If the police or the border guards inspect one of the people and they still have a valid visa, nothing happens. Only for an illegal stay do the police or the border guard draw up a report and inform the migration authorities.’

Jaquet von Sury said that most of the time, people in such cases eventually appear again to file for asylum.

It is not the first time invited guests have disappeared in Switzerland.

Last April, two Algerian sportsmen who were set to compete in a tournament disappeared after their arrival at the airport in Geneva.

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